How Raimona hit rock bottom

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 12/04/2014
Tukiterangi Jahna Raimona
FAIRFAX NZ
IN COURT: Tukiterangi Jahna Raimona.

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A fallen former Southland Stags rugby player knew he had hit rock bottom when a police car pulled up his driveway.

For Tukiterangi Raimona it was a relief - he knew he could fall no further and help was on its way.

Raimona, 22, was sentenced yesterday in the Invercargill District Court to 21 days' home detention after admitting a charge of dishonestly obtaining a document, namely a prescription form, with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage on February 18.

He had forged the prescription and used it at an Invercargill pharmacy to try to get triazolam (60 tablets), diazepam (60 tablets) and oxynorm (40 tablets).

He was caught after the pharmacy and issuing doctor made inquiries because of the controlled nature of the drugs.

The drugs were not dispensed.

Judge Michael Turner said Raimona had been addicted to painkillers and sedatives but since being caught had undertaken a variety of interventions and was motivated to continue seeking help.

Speaking to The Southland Times from his home detention address yesterday, Raimona, who was a Stag for three years, said the past few months had been tough.

While he would not say what medication he had been addicted to, or why he had been on them, some of the medication had been to help with sporting injuries including a bruised heart, he said.

The day he had taken the prescription form he had been at "rock bottom".

"The minute I got picked up when police pulled up the driveway it was just relief. A big weight had just fallen from my shoulders. I was ready to sort my life out.

"For me to do something like that [the offending], it definitely woke me up and realise what point of my life I was in."

While being arrested and charged was the final catalyst for changing his life, he had been extremely lucky to have supportive family and friends who had helped him through his toughest days, he said.

After the arrest he moved to a family member's Gore farm to take time out for himself.

His days were spent going to the gym and getting his body healthy and he also underwent voluntary counselling, which had "definitely helped a lot".

He had also since started a new job, working as a steel fixer.

Since his arrest he had not touched the medication and while he conceded it had been a difficult process, he now felt "cleansed".

"Like a new person."

He was sorry for what he had put his friends and family through and was grateful for their support.

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Some Rugby Southland people had kept in touch with him and he was also thankful for their support. He hoped to resurrect his professional rugby career, he said.

"What got me here today was because of some decisions I've made and I now realise there are means and ways I could have dealt with those decisions a lot better than I have. There's two roads I could have gone down. I chose the wrong one." 

- The Southland Times

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